Since Nixon severed the final link to gold in 1971, the US dollar has lost more than 80% of its purchasing power, wreaking havoc on ordinary savers, conservative investors, and households on fixed incomes. Today, inflationary monetary policy continues to be a foundational tenet of all presidential administrations as politicians and central bankers have heedlessly been borrowing and printing currency without restraint in order to bankroll today’s bloated and insolvent federal government.
Movement in the direction of sound money is badly needed, and even without abolishing central banking, there are several steps that the Trump administration can take toward improving monetary policy.
Step One: Audit the Fed
From Ron Paul to Bernie Sanders and many people in between, there has been plenty of support for “Audit the Fed” legislation. Politicians and constituents alike agree that the Federal Reserve lacks even the most basic oversight a government-sponsored institution should have — particularly when its officials can make decisions which can bring the American economy to its knees.
Step Two: Audit the Gold
The last time there was a reasonably credible audit of America’s gold reserves was in the 1950s. Since then, there has been little more than peek-a-boo glances at the gold. The most recent status report done by the Department of the Treasury, claims that Fort Knox holds 147,341,858.382 fine troy ounces of gold.
However, many question the accuracy of that report and whether it tells the whole story. There is evidence the US Treasury has engaged in gold leasing and other financial alchemy. Even if all the gold is still held in US vaults, it may have been leased, sold, pledged as collateral, or could be encumbered in other ways.
Step Three: Remove Federal Taxation on Precious Metals
Another necessary step in freeing gold and silver to be used once again as money is to eliminate capital gains taxation on monetary metals. At the federal level, IRS bureaucrats insist that gold and silver be taxed when exchanged for Federal Reserve Notes — or when used in barter transactions.
When the federal government’s inflationary policies lower the purchasing power of the Federal Reserve Note, precious metals’ nominal dollar value generally rises, triggering a “gain.” The gain may be purely fictional in real terms. But these “gains” are still taxed — thus unfairly punishing people for owning precious metals as money.
Step Four, Five, and Six: Appoint Proponents of Sound Money to the Fed, CEA, and CFTC
President-elect Trump’s rhetoric is loaded with claims about getting people back to work. He’ll play a hand in that directly when he makes appointments throughout his presidency. Among the most impactful will be his appointments to the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve, the privately held central bank of the United States, has an unrivaled ability to manipulate the economy. For much of the past 30 years, starting with Alan Greenspan, the Fed has loosened the money supply with low interest rates and quantitative easing. And it’s created moral hazards by bailing out irresponsible market players. Trump can appoint 4 of the 7 leading officials of the US central bank.
The Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) advises the president on economic policy and prepares the Economic Report of the President. The council is comprised of 3 members nominated by the president and approved by the Senate, and its members are typically professors on a leave of absence from their universities.
Trump has the opportunity to appoint new members to this advisory body. He should look to economists with a firm understanding of the benefits of sound money than selecting yet more Keynesian school economists who have been cheerleaders for central government planning and an inflationary monetary policy for decades.
The people Trump appoints to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will also have substantial impact on the markets. In the recent past, the CFTC received complaints about concentrated short selling done intentionally to push gold and silver prices down. For example, there is strong evidence that unscrupulous banks and traders often attack during periods of low liquidity in the markets such as the middle of the night.
The largest contributor to inflation and financial turmoil is dishonest money - enabling bureaucrats to run perpetual government deficits and pile up the federal debt. If Trump takes the steps outlined above, he can repair some of the damage.